Who will LeBron play for next season?

Over the past couple of weeks, our poll has asked this very question and 1,094 of our readers have responded. Here are the results:

(Click on the chart for a bigger version.)

It seems our readers believe that the Bulls are the odds on favorites to sign LeBron, with the Cavs close behind. The Knicks finished third by a pretty wide margin, with the Heat, “other” and the Nets getting a decent amount of the vote. The Clippers appear to be the biggest longshot of this group.

World Sports Exchange has set up a long-term market so that gamblers can buy and sell shares in certain teams. Here is a snapshot of the market as of 5/31/10:

A share in the team that signs LeBron is worth $100, while all other shares aren’t worth anything. So someone can buy a share of the Cavs for $33 and if Cleveland signs LeBron, the buyer would make $67 on the transaction. This market essentially says that the Cavs are a 2:1 favorite to sign LeBron, the Bulls are 7:3, the Knicks are 3:1 and the Heat are 8:1.

What’s not clear is what happens if Cleveland executes a sign-and-trade with LeBron. In that scenario, the Cavs would technically “sign” him, but his rights would be traded to his new team. The site should make the market more clear by saying “Who will LeBron play for next season?” instead of “Who will sign LeBron?”

Regardless, this market is something to keep your eye on because it quantifies the pulse of the public’s opinion of the LeBron courtship. Also, be sure to check out my attempt to handicap the major players in the LeBron sweepstakes.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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